GRAYSON COUNTY, Ky. — A rural community, one hour south of Louisville, is dealing with accusations of stolen dogs and the alleged thief is a local animal shelter.
Leitchfield Police is investigating one Grayson County shelter after families reported employees taking pet from their property and then getting rid of them before the owners could get them back.
The first incident happened in October. Since then, Marvin Burns has had his land on lock down.
"Nobody has the key except for me," Burns said.
Burns built a new fence with the intention to keep his dogs, and keep people out.
"She lied to me, they all lied to me for three months," Burns said.
Burns believes Leitchfield Animal Shelter employees stole his dogs from his backyard while he was at a doctor’s appointment. Burns said he didn’t know it was them until recently. At first her went to the shelter asking for help.
"They told me they hadn't heard nothing," Burns said. "I told them if yall find out or hear anything would you please let me know."
Three months later, he was shocked when he found out another family had adopted his dog from the shelter.
"For me to find out, yeah I'm mad, I'm very mad and I think they need to pay for what they've done," Burns said.
Burns said after talking with that family, they gave the dog back, but first they went to the shelter to ask for adoption records. That family didn’t want to be accused of taking the dog from Burn’s backyard.
While at the shelter, they recorded a video on their cell phone. At one point, a shelter employee said “we did that because we were afraid that he would steal her back."
She was referencing the reason why they micro-chipped Burns' animal.
When WHAS11 went to the shelter to ask about the what happened, they wouldn't answer our questions, only saying "we don't steal dogs."
"How many other people are suffering and have no knowledge that this has happened to them?” Burns said.
He said he didn't get his other dogs back because the shelter employees sent them to an out of state rescue.
It’s a similar experience to that of another Leitchfield family. They did not want to talk on camera, but said that their dog got out of the yard and was taken to the shelter. Instead of holding the animal, as required per policy, they immediately sent it to an Ohio rescue. That family never had the chance to reclaim their pet.
New Mayor Rick Embry said he has always been proud of the shelter staff for their work, but in his first few weeks in office, his office has received several shelter complaints.
"We have policies in place to try to protect dogs and get them back to their owner but sometimes that doesn't happen," Embry said. "We are continuing to look at procedures that would make it a more efficient operation."
Embry wouldn't go into the details but confirmed they are re-working policies and police are investigating.
"If there's an apology to be made I've made it," Embry said. "I think the animal shelter staff has done that as well."
For Burns, an apology isn't good enough. He wants the staff held accountable.
"I want to make sure this happens to nobody else," Burns said.